You have researched every furniture vendor in the market. You have reviewed every feature available for modern call center and dispatch console furniture, from ambient lighting and forced heated air to status lights and cup holders. You have reviewed surface finishes and fabric samples with you team. You have braved the RFP process and selected the perfect vendor for your new furniture. It may seem like your work is complete; it has only just begun.
Preparing for new furniture and equipment installation
Now that you have selected a console furniture vendor it is time to link the vendor with others involved with your project. Since your furniture integrates power and technology, critical to successful call center and PSAP function, the installation will likely affect other aspects of your project - electrical, IT, seating and support equipment.
Here are three things to consider if you want a smooth installation.
1) Determine if you'll need a live-cutover
If you are going to install new console furniture in a live center it is important to decide in what order the consoles will be changed out. Best practice is to provide a plan that indicates the order that each vendor will remove their equipment from the existing consoles AND in what order the new vendors will install equipment in the new workstations.
TIP: Remember to include time for removal of the existing furniture and cleaning where the old furniture was before starting the installation of the new console furniture.
Once you know what type of installation event you will need, you're ready to move the project planning forward.
2) Host regular project meetings
It is important that all the vendors communicate regularly with each other, especially for large, complex projects. Small changes made by one vendor may impact other vendors on the project, creating unwanted delays during installation. Work with your points of contact to create a group meeting schedule that best supports the project.
It is important that you connect your console furniture vendor with all the vendors involved in your project since most workstations have power and technology integrated within the unit.
TIP: An audio or video conference call can be a great way to bring people together. For efficient use of time, create a focused agenda and send it out ahead of time, give vendors the opportunity to add items that need immediate resolution, and keep your meeting focused on the task at hand.
Here is a list of questions to get you started:
- How does your console connect to the power source?
- What is the power requirement for the console?
- Where are the power access points in the console?
- What is the max power draw of each console?
- Where will the grounding bar be located?
Information Technologies (CAD, Radio, Phone)
- Where are the data cable access points in the console?
- Where can data cables be terminated in the console?
- What cable length is recommended for access to the technology cabinet?
- What is the recommended video cable length?
- Do you provide a cable management guide?
- Are there any background checks required for the installation technicians to gain access to the building?
- Is there a dedicated dock, door, and/or elevator the installation teams should use?
- Is there a requirement to cover the flooring in the lobby and hallways with cardboard or Masonite?
- Should the walls in the elevator be protected? Can the elevator be dedicated for use by the installers during delivery?
3) Encourage idea sharing
Before installation begins, host a team meeting where your internal team can share questions and concerns about schedules, down-time, etc. You may have someone on your team that has been involved with an installation before; they may be able to give some ideas for helping the installation run smoothly. Your IT Manager may have tips for laying in cables so they do not twist, your Facility Manager may have a location for temporary personal items storage while lockers are being swapped.
Your console vendor also has a wealth of information about dispatch and call center installations. While centers may have similar functions, each has unique requirements and solutions for challenges. Your furniture vendor can share solutions they’ve seen at other centers.
For example, we've seen the benefit of color coding cables by vendor to eliminate confusion during technology integration:
|Radio (red cables)||Phone (blue)||CAD (yellow)||Agency IT (green)|
It does not cost extra to get colored cables and it makes it very easy for the vendors to identify their cables, especially during a phased installation.
What's next? Download your "Quick-start buyer's guide"
This checklist will help PSAP, Call Center and Security teams make the most of the furniture acquisition process.
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About the Author
Eddie Creegan's expertise in facility needs and dispatch furniture solutions helps him engage communications centers to understand challenges and to develop lasting solutions.
Eddie started his career in 1986 installing commercial office furniture and public safety consoles. He received installation certification for multiple product lines and started his own installation company in Phoenix. In 2005, Eddie moved from installation to sales as an independent rep for Watson Dispatch and began working directly for Watson in 2013. Eddie works predominately with customers in the Southwest and Mountain states. Connect with Eddie on LinkedIn.